October 19, 2007
The Caterpillar® Edwards Demonstration and Learning Center has expanded indoor space by about 50 percent to provide a single, flexible venue that can serve the needs of customers, dealers and Caterpillar business units. Additions to both arena buildings provide classroom space that can be configured to serve 16 to 122 people, and a multi-purpose room accommodates seating for as many as 200. A new dining area and outdoor hospitality area facilitates full-day programs, and a Cat® Merchandise Center offers products displaying the Cat logo.
In addition to the modern demonstration and training facilities, Edwards features two new indoor areas designed to deliver focused marketing experiences. The multi-purpose exhibit center (MPEX) has one area dedicated to an interactive display of maintenance products and product support services. Another area has exhibit components in place to quickly and cost-effectively accommodate specific business unit requirements.
The additions to Edwards are designed to enhance all types of customer and dealer personnel trainingâ€”such as maintenance training, operator training and machine applications trainingâ€”and to help Caterpillar build strong relationships with those key people. Caterpillar expects more than 16,400 customer and dealer visitors to Edwards this year.
Edwards Demonstration and Learning Center Facts
Location: Near Edwards, Illinois, 12 miles west of Peoria, home of Caterpillar Inc. general offices
Property: 720 acres of land owned by Caterpillar
Indoor space: 150,000 square feet, including two arenas
Outdoor demonstration area: Features a rotating grandstand and seating for 225
Equipment fleet: More than 70 machines valued at more than $8.5 million
Economic impact on area: Visitors to Edwards spent an estimated $2.9 million in 2005 for goods and services; forecast visitor expenditures for 2006 are $3.9 million
Expansion architecture: Structures accent elements of the prairie-style design in concert with the surrounding Illinois prairie. Meeting rooms carry names and visuals representative of the history and natural features of the area.
Edwards Demonstration and Learning Center History
Early Illinois settlers were drawn to this area because of the fertile, tillable land. They established the original Olin station settlement between what are now the communities of Kickapoo and Edwards.
In l855, progress brought the Peoria and Oquawaka Railroad to the area, leading to further business development of gunpowder mills. In l903, the Buckeye Powder Company opened on the site, and by l916 it became known as the Western Powder Manufacturing Company. In l941, a blast, which was felt at Caterpillar facilities in East Peoria, destroyed the facility. (See photo mural in Arena B lobby.)
In l967, when Caterpillar purchased the first parcels of land, the powder mill building foundations and railroad sidings were still visible and were removed to build the new Caterpillar facilities. In l97l, the first equipment demonstration was held at the site.
In l985, an additional 30,000 square feet of indoor arena space was built. In 2000, yet another arena was builtâ€”bringing the total indoor space to more than 100,000 square feet. The most recent expansion was completed in April 2006.